When I spotted this ad for Crane appliances the other day in one of my magazines I like it for two reasons: 1) I like, as I have said before, the boldness and take no prisoner approach to decorating modern in the 1950’s. There were new materials, endless colors and by golly, they were going to use them and there was no apologetic mousy attitude for it. I also happen to love Orange and soft blue together. I have soft blue walls with an orange settee in front of it and I found the colors very pleasing, they are complimentary on the color wheel.
2)Now, what really struck me with this add was the genius of the idea: The shared bathroom.
In the 1950’s the average home square footage was around 1000 sq feet and contained one bathroom. Here is an interesting graphic to illustrate then and now.
In 1950 the average American family consisted of 3.6 people sharing a 1,000-square-foot house. By 2004, the average household consisted of 2.7 people sharing a 2,400 square foot house. That’s an increase of 240% in house size in just over half a century, while family size shrank by about 30%
We had smaller homes with more children and less bedrooms and bathrooms and it was simply a matter of getting along. Perhaps a lesson that, if started in the home, might spread out to the country with adults, but I digress.
This got me thinking that with today's foreclosures and many people needing to downsize, a home with a single bathroom might not only be a necessity, but it could actually be a choice. Plumbing is rather expensive and to install a second bathroom can be quite expensive.
Our home is quite small. We live in a 1700’s Half Cape home with one bathroom. As we have no children, it seems more doable, but many people have said to me, “How do you share your bathroom with your husband?” As if I have pots and curling irons and all sorts piled all about. The simple answer to that is the dressing table. All my hot rollers, pins, lotions and potions, pots and make up, perfume, you name it live happily in my dressing table and that is where I sit to do those sorts of things many modern women do in the bathroom. Not sure why, as I used to do it as well, because standing over a sink with hot lights on you is not half as nice as sitting on a padded chair with a three way mirror and lovely little silver boxes around, taking your time.
So, Back to our photograph. What is genius is if you were given the chance to design your bath when building your home, there are some great ideas. The fact that the toilet is separated by an easy to slide door, the bath (roomy too) and shower also can be separated with a gay fun curtain and the main sink area is able to be used while the others are being occupied.
I think this sort of layout would easily apply to a family who is contemplating adding a bathroom. Again, an expensive endeavor as space either needs to be found or built and then the cost of a second set of appliances which will use more energy and cost you more in bills. If one had to address their bathroom needs, certainly making over their one bath, even if they had to steal a bit of space from the adjoining rooms, to make one large bath such as this with shared spaces would be a wonderful solution. Obviously, the decorating style would be adjusted to your own taste and need not be orange and blue. ( I do think the above bathroom would be delightful with a tile floor of smaller tiles, maybe hex, with various shades of orange and then black accents with a blue tile rim around the floor and above the half wall application.)
And, if you are to share one bath with a family, using all your vertical space is imperative. These are ingenious solutions.
This little built in wall rack of towels, display, and small storage would be an easy weekend project with some pine and paint from the local hardware. And using up a corner like this in part of your divided 3 part shared bathroom plan would even allow you to steal that hall linen closet space for another purpose.
So, if you have to downsize, or if you find yourself pinching your pennies more, try to live with the space you have. And, rather than add a bathroom, re-invent the one you have and the way in which you use it as a family.
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